CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel personally delivered a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, urging him to sign legislation requiring gun dealers in Illinois to obtain state licenses, after not getting a response to an identical letter the mayor sent to the governor last week.
The measure approved by the General Assembly last week would require anyone who sells, leases, or transfers firearms to be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The licenses would have to be renewed every five years at a cost of $1,000.
The governor has yet to take action on the measure, and last week the mayor and all 50 aldermen signed a letter urging Rauner to sign it immediately to take advantage of the “renewed momentum in the critical fight to stop gun violence.” The governor has until the end of April to either sign the gun licensing bill, veto it, or do nothing and allow the law to take effect automatically.
Wednesday morning, when the two attended an event together in the Horner Park neighborhood, Emanuel said he has not received a response from the governor, so he personally handed the governor a blue folder containing another copy of the letter.
“I said that he may obviously not want to make this decision before his primary, but he has a responsibility to make this decision on behalf of all of us for the safety and security of the people of the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois,” Emanuel said.
“For some reason, he decided not to respond to this letter that was sent by all 50 aldermen and myself, but I’m going to make sure he not only gets the letter, he has a responsibility to answer it; not because it’s politically safe, but because it’s personally safe to everybody here,” he added. “You guys all have a responsibility to ask him a question. Where does he stand on the issue?”
Rauner declined to say if he would announce his stance the gun licensing legislation before the primary election.
“I have been crystal clear. I support bipartisan reforms to keep our citizens safer, and we need to do this on a comprehensive basis; real reform that will really change the system, keep our students safer in our schools, ban bump stocks, support law enforcement, and do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill,” he said. “I look forward to working with the mayor and all of our elected officials on a bipartisan basis to get good changes to keep our people safe.”
The governor claimed he did not know what was in the folder the mayor handed him.
The gun licensing legislation would require dealers to have video surveillance systems at any permanent dealership, and employees would be required to undergo background checks.
While the bill sits on Rauner’s desk, several other gun measures haven’t yet passed the Senate, including the bump stock ban, a ban on the sale of assault weapons to those under 21, and a 72-hour waiting period to buy a high-powered weapon.